Julie Moos Shares Wisdom About OnLine Promotion

Moos Shares Wisdom About OnLine Promotion

WRAL OnLine Executive Producer Julie Moos wrote an article about website promotion for the online newsletter lostremote.com. The article appeared in the April 17th edition.

Julie Moos
Executive Producer
WRAL OnLine will relaunch under the auspices of Internet Broadcasting Systems (IBS) in early May. The updated site will still include WRAL-TV’s high-quality brand of local newscasting but will now be teamed with a network of local sites nationally to provide even more up-to-the-minute information from around the country. The new site will be easier to navigate and will build upon WRAL OnLine’s already award-winning qualities and the far-reaching resources of IBS.

Here’s what Moos had to say about the ins and outs of promoting an online news site:

By Julie Moos (jmoos@wral.com)
Executive Producer, WRAL.com

CROSS-PROMOTION is a bit like cross-pollination; if it’s done right, it sprinkles the seeds of new growth.

In the case of WRAL, we grow our broadcast audience by promoting newscasts on the website, and we grow our pageviews by promoting the site on the air.

Maybe because the website lived in the promotion department for its first few years, WRAL.com has always been committed to marketing the station and its news and community service products.

For example, every weekday, visitors to the homepage will find a text tease for the 6pm newscast. We also tease the next day’s 6am newscast, and during ratings months, we plug the 11pm news as well.

When our e-mail newsletter goes out every day, we include that night’s program schedule as well as the news teases that appear on the homepage.

When appropriate, we integrate teases into our interactive Hot Button poll, which appears on our homepage. In March, we did a series of NCAA tournament questions that promoted our online content (including a multi-casting program guide) and our on-air coverage of the games.

Sometimes, we use the Hot Button to collect results that producers and reporters can use on-air for tosses and tags to packages. We tease the newscast in which the relevant package will run, and after the anchor or reporter gives the results on-air, they tease people back to the website.

What is most valuable for us, though, is when we can cross- promote during breaking news. A car accident on our major interstate was the perfect opportunity for our traffic reporter to use the traffic cameras on-air and refer people back to the site for the latest information. Ditto for weather events, especially with school closings.

During the February book, we started posting auxiliary content a day or two in advance of a package to promote it on air.

For example, the day before news aired a package on fighting phobias, we offered online visitors a quiz they could take to find out whether their fears were actually phobias.

Visitors who didn’t watch the story still learned something, and those who did may not have without the nudge. Those quizzes were also used on air early in the day to tease the website and to tease ahead to that night’s package. That means more on-air plugs for WRAL.com and more promotion for the news story.

During ratings, the news managing editor, one of the news executive producers, the on-air promotions director and I meet daily to discuss cross-promotional opportunities.

And every morning in the editorial meeting, I present WRAL.com’s pageviews for the previous day, top stories, hours of maximum use, and what we have that day for news to use and promote.

After the meeting, I send scripts to the news producers that they can use to promote our content, and I send them to our weather and sports departments as well, when appropriate.

That kind of cooperation is fundamental to the success we’ve seen here at WRAL-TV.

(Based in Raleigh, NC, WRAL.com routinely ranks among the top five most-visited TV websites in the country).

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